Art wants me to write this story.
We have a designer cat named Larisa. She's a hypoallergenic Siberian Forest cat, a former breeding queen, seven years old. She came to live with us two years ago this June, after bearing five litters of kittens for her previous owner. When she moved in, she wouldn't let us touch her for 62 days. Even as she adjusted to us, I wondered if she felt at home or whether she thought she was just visiting.
Last night I got my answer.
Art and I came home from a day at a Habitat build, and Larisa didn't come to the door to greet us as she usually does. An hour later neither of us had seen her, so I went looking. She was behind a chair in the spare bedroom, barely moving. I thought she was sick, but her food dish was empty. I called her to me. She moved to the other side of the chair. I came out into the living area and waited. Visions of a large vet bill and a delayed road trip floated through my mind.
Larisa appeared half an hour later, but she was very jumpy. She startled at any sound. I wondered if there had been a thunderstorm while we were gone. She finally found a spot near Art for a nap, but it was near his feet rather than at any accustomed places.
Then Art looked up from his paper and saw a strange cat in the hallway. We had a visitor!
He got the broom and chased the stranger into the spare room where it hid under the bed. Larisa watched the action from the hallway. Fifteen minutes later the spare cat tore out of the guestroom, and, hissing, Larisa chased it across the house and out the back door into the night.
Ten minutes later our Larisa was back. She went to her food dish and ate what I'd put out. Then she lay by the back door, guarding the entrance, until we went to bed.
I guess she feels at home now. And apparently there's no room for another cat in this household.